Reservations will be required at Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark
With its striking ridges, panoramic views and historic hiking trails, Lē‘ahi, also known as Diamond Head, is aMong Oʻahu most salient features. More than 3,000 hikers visit the volcanic cone each day to climb the 1.6 km trail to its summit.
Travelers to Oʻahu this summer should be aware that beginning May 12, 2022, the State Monument will require advance reservations for out-of-state visitors. Hawaii residents can continue to access the park without a reservation, but admission will depend on parking availability.
The park’s reservation system will be activated on April 28, allowing reservations to be made up to 14 days in advance. Visitors parking vehicles in the crater will need to book into two-hour time slots, which begin at 6 a.m., while walk-in and drop-off visitors are subject to one-hour time slots. Commercial visits will also require reservations.
Listed in the National Natural Monuments, Lēahi is one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions. According to the state Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the park saw a record 6,000 visitors in one day during the winter of 2019.
The new reservation system aims to ease hiker congestion along the narrow, winding trail to the summit, as well as reduce vehicle congestion entering and exiting the single access tunnel at Diamond Head. The DLNR Division of State Parks also hopes to alleviate parking problems in urban neighborhoods in surrounding areas. The ultimate goal of the reservation system is to alleviate pressure on adjacent communities and resources, while improving the quality of visitor experiences.
“The reservation system is an important part of the destination management action plan. We want to reduce visitor impact and really make sure our residents have access to these sought-after places,” Governor David Ige said during a recent visit to Diamond Head in April.
To ensure the best trail conditions, visitors are required to plan their hikes in advance. Similar goals and procedures have already been implemented in other state parks and nature preserves in Hawaiʻi. Diamond Head State Monument is now the third park in the state park system to require advance reservations, after Ha‘ena State Park on Kauaʻi and Waiʻānapanapa State Park on Maui. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oʻahu also asks visitors to reserve a time and pay online in advance.
In 2020, the Division of State Parks increased fees at Diamond Head from $1 for walk-in tours and $5 for vehicles to $10 for parking and $5 per person. From mid-May, reservations and payments will be confirmed with QR codes, eliminating cash exchange at the entrance. As a result, park visitors should notice shorter vehicle lines and faster entry.
For more information on how to book reservations at Diamond Head Monument, visit the Division of State Parks website.